This past Saturday was our state's official migratory count day, so Gretchen and I went out with my friend Roana and a couple of other great birders to nearby Scotia Barrens, an Important Birding Area on the north side of State College.The highlights for me were this Pileated Woodpecker, spotted by Gretchen, and a Black-throated Blue Warbler I spotted but didn't get a picture of. Roana and Jim, one of the pro-level birders on the team, heard and counted about fifty million species for the count, but Gretchen and I were more content to just slow down and observe the birds we saw. Gretch saw her first female Wood Duck, who had 12 (yeah, 12!) babies in tow; we also saw a Greater Yellowlegs, which I've now come to regard as a no-big-deal bird because I've seen them every time I go out to Julian Wetlands.
We also saw a beautiful little American Redstart, but again I wasn't fast enough with the camera. I think those weeks without the camera (not to mention the long winter with too little birding) have made me a little slower photographer. I'll just have to practice more.
The day was pretty terrible, with very strong winds and low temperatures, so Baby G and I left Roana to the count and went to Julian. Sadly, we saw no Wilson's Phalarope--and the winds were even stronger out there. We lasted about fifteen minutes before it was just too much weather. We're supposed to get temps in the TWENTIES tonight (WTF, May?), so I don't know how the birding will be over the next few days.